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Man Ray

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"I do not photograph nature. I photograph my visions." Man Ray, the master of experimental and fashion photography was also a painter, a filmmaker, a poet, an essayist, a philosopher, and a leader of American modernism. Known for documenting the cultural elite living in France, Man Ray spent much of his time fighting the formal constraints of the visual arts. Ray's life and art were always provocative, engaging, and challenging. Born Emanuel Rabinovitch in 1890, Man Ray spent most of his young life in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The eldest child of an immigrant Jewish tailor, he was a mediocre student who shunned college for the bohemian artistic life in nearby Manhattan. In New York he began to work as an artist, meeting many of the most important figures of the time. He learned the rudiments of photography from the art dealer and photographer, Alfred Stieglitz, and began to experiment on his own. In 1914, Man Ray married the Belgian poet, Adon Lacroix, and soon after met the experimental artist Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp was to be one of Man Ray's greatest influences as well as a close friend and collaborator. ...read more.


Though deeply immersed in the artistic life of France, World War II forced Man Ray to leave Paris, and he moved to Hollywood. In Hollywood, many expatriate artists, musicians, and writers took up residence. He spent ten years there working as a fashion photographer. With his brave use of lighting and minimalist representation, Man Ray produced fashion photographs unlike any that had come before-and forever changed that discipline. Man Ray longed, however, to be back in Paris, the city that had nurtured his creative life. So, after the war, married to a young dancer named Juliet Brown, he moved back. He spent the next twenty-five years there, creating paintings, sculptures, films, and photographs. He died on November 18, 1976 at the age of eighty-six. One the great artists and agitators of his time, Man Ray will be remembered not simply for the fascinating and experimental works he left behind, but for the crucial role he played in encouraging the revolutionary in art. Ray, Man American, 1890-1976 A tireless experimenter with photographic techniques who participated in the Cubist, Dadaist, and Surrealist art movements, Man Ray created a new photographic art which emphasized chance effects and surprising juxtapositions. ...read more.


He became a member of New York's proto-Dada group about this time along with Duchamp, Francis Picabia, and others. Man Ray moved to Paris in 1921 where he made his living as a professional fashion and portrait photographer while pursuing more creative work on the side. He became internationally famous as the photographer of Parisian artists between the wars. He made portraits of the entire intellectual elite: Breton, Joyce, Eliot, Schoenberg, Matisse, Ernst, Artaud, Stein, Brancusi, and Hemingway, to name a few. Soon after his arrival in Paris, Ray made his first Rayograph. He participated in the first international Dada show held in Paris, was a member of the Surrealist movement from 1924, and exhibited at the first Surrealist show in Paris in 1925. In 1932, his work appeared in the major Surrealist exhibition at New York's Julien Levy Gallery. He was included in the Museum of Modern Art's Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism show in 1935. Ray fled Paris before the Nazi occupation in 1940 and settled in Hollywood where he continued to work and teach for the next 10 years. Photography took second place to painting for the rest of his career, although he experimented with color photography in the late 1950s and early 1960s. ...read more.

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